Recent Ninth Circuit Decision Makes Jury Selection More Even-Handed

By: Wallin & Klarich

A recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision dealt a blow to racially motivated juror dismissals.

When choosing a jury, attorneys are allowed a certain number of challenges to remove jurors form the jury pool. The attorneys may challenge “for cause” or may exercise a limited number or peremptory challenges. The “for cause” challenges must be clearly stated and relate to a juror bias that would affect the impartiality of the decision. Peremptory challenges do not require an explanation, but cannot be related to race, gender, or sex.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just made the peremptory challenge harder by ruling that the appeals court can conduct a comparative juror analysis when determining if the peremptory challenge was made because of race, gender, or sex.

A comparative juror analysis allows an appeals court to look at the overall pattern of juror dismissals to see if there is a pattern of targeted discrimination. For instance, if a juror is dismissed because the attorney thought that their yellow shoes were distracting, the appeals court can look to see if there were other jurors who were wearing yellow shoes but not dismissed.

This comparative juror analysis will enable appeals courts to overturn convictions from a segregated, non-representative jury if it can be proved that the jury selection was discriminatory. In cases like these, it is important to hire an experienced Southern California appeals attorney. The appeals attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience in handling appeals. Wallin & Klarich attorneys comb the trial record to be sure our clients were afforded a fair trial. An impartial jury is the key to a fair trial so if you or a loved one has been a victim of this discriminatory practice call an attorney at Wallin & Klarich today. Contact the experienced Southern California criminal defense lawyers at Wallin & Klarich today at 1-888-280-6839 or for a consultation of your case.

Posted In: Criminal Appeals